Mom and Pop cafes and restaurants in France cannot seem to get these darn Pokemons out of their kitchens.
The pesky and surprisingly pugnacious Pokemon characters are all up in the grill of several businesses, literally, well virtually at least, and stirring up global disputes as to the means by which store owners can obtain relief from their virtual takeovers.
Mayor Fabrice Beauvois mailed a decree to The Pokemon Company in California to make sure it stops allowing the characters to invade his village northeast of Lyon, which is Bressolles, and is home to around 800 real people. This is all according Phillipe Sotto’s Associated Press report for ABC News.
As of the article, The Pokemon Company apparently had not responded to the letter, but it did note the possibility for businesses to designate their place as a Gym, or Pokestop, and that will prevent the characters from entering the business.
As Mayor Beauvois explained, “when a café or a restaurant owner wants to open a business in any French town, they have an obligation to request prior authorization to the mayor.” He is not pleased that Picachu, among others in his cohort, are invading these prior-authorized places in a usurpation of his authority.
The natural tendency is to compare these invasions to trespass, but as Michael Smith contends in this article, it’s actually more akin to nuisance.
The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 821D defines nuisance as a “nontrespassory invasion of another’s interest in the private use and enjoyment of land.”
Michael Smith compared this to a fascinating story right at the center of the USA. If you have a life, you probably did not know that the geographical center of the USA is precisely at 39.8333333,-98.585522. That’s in Kansas near the Nebraska border. Due to the uneven nature of those numbers, MaxMind rounded them down to 38 N, 97 W. It used that point as its default location for its digital map, a location at which several IP addresses on phones and computers register if the mapping company cannot locate their actual location.
Those points also intersect in Joyce Taylor’s front yard in a small town in Kansas. There are over 600 million IP addresses associated with those coordinates. And, whenever any person using a device registered to that default address shares its location for any reason, however important, such as when a user contacts a suicide hotline, tracking agencies respond to Taylor’s residence. As such, frequent visitors included the FBI, not to mention other various emergency services organization responding to a live threat.
While MaxMind’s use of her front yard for its default IP location does not always result in a physical invasion of her property, it nevertheless causes an interference with her quiet use and enjoyment of that property, making it a nuisance, and not a trespass. In tort, the same can be said for Pokemon Go characters that cause a similar nuisance in the property and store fronts of business owners. Perhaps this is one mechanism by which businesses can reclaim their property should catching a Pokemon result in a disruption to their lawful business activities.